After a tough loss against the Los Angeles Clippers (44-30) on Saturday, the Utah Jazz (44-29) have a chance to bounce back against the New Orleans Pelicans (30-42) today. Having now lost four of their last five, a win against the under .500 Pelicans is crucial if any shred of hope lasts for the four seed. Although, that hope may be the same as eighteen year-old me diagnosing my hairline.
Was it just a few weeks ago we were riding a win streak and drinking in the playoffs like a fresh capri sun? Well, it seems that pouch has been sucked dry and wins are as difficult as sipping out those last drops. It also seems all is not well in Jazzland with our fearless leader, Rudy Gobert, calling out some of the players on this team not competing like they should.
Rudy Gobert: "We've got guys that compete, but some of us don't compete. Some of us just think about scoring.... https://t.co/CKQQ6Uf9m6— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 25, 2017
First off, Rudy Gobert can say whatever he wants. Since all star break, Rudy has reached a whole new level of stardom, absolutely dominating opposing frontcourts.
The GOBzilla last three games:— Taylor Griffin (@taylorgriffin__) March 26, 2017
Dude can say what he wants as bonafide leader of the team pic.twitter.com/85k3CBbYDt
You know why Rudy does no more saluting? Because we should be saluting him! Here’s to you, Rudy!
Luckily, we’re undefeated against the Pelicans this season, and have a chance to sweep the series. I’m legitimately scared for DeMarcus Cousins. No, really. He’s got a fire-breathing, DPOY-seeking GOBzilla coming after him. There will be destroyed cities and the broken dreams of those who doubted Rudy after this one.
George Hill vs Tim Frazier
Rodney Hood vs Jrue Holiday
Gordon Hayward vs Solomon Hill
Boris Diaw vs Anthony Davis
Rudy Gobert vs DeMarcus Cousins
As usual, the starter at power forward could be any number of players, but until Derrick Favors comes back, it will most likely be Boris Diaw with Joe Johnson coming off the bench.
Key Match-up: Rudy Gobert vs DeMarcus Cousins
This is a blast every time, mostly because Rudy has dominated the matchup. In his last game against Rudy as a Pelican, DeMarcus was 5/15 for 15 points, 8 rebounds and was a -2 while Rudy went 6/10 for 15 points, 16 rebounds and was a +10. Yup.
X-Factor: George Hill
What we’ve seen out of George Hill lately is probably more of what we should have expected than the blistering play he started the year with. Even though Hill has cooled off, he’s still averaging 16.9 Points on 47% shooting and 39% from three with 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds. Solid, solid numbers. When looking at his numbers from his last 10 games, it doesn’t seem as if Hill is in as bad a slump as I would have guessed.
His numbers are down, but a few made threes and those numbers get right back to that high level he was at. Let’s hope that the Jazz can find a groove tonight and Hill can get find that swag he brought at the beginning of this year.